Frequently asked questions

Why are school libraries so important?


All children deserve a great school library because adequately funded, staffed school libraries deliver enhanced and independent learning as well as reading and curriculum support. School libraries contribute to building lifelong readers and support whole school initiatives promoting reading for pleasure.

Evidence also suggests school libraries:

  • Lead to higher qualifications/attainment
  • Promote a better quality of life
  • Generate improved results
  • Alleviate pressure on health and mental health services
  • Alleviate teacher workload
  • Increase efficiency for schools
  • Contribute to the delivery of a well-rounded education
  • Deliver and teach essential Information/critical literacy skills to combat fake news and engender independent learning

All of this evidence shows us that school libraries are a vital part of every school, and should be cherished and maintained.




What is a School Library Strategy?


A strategy is a plan of action designed to achieve long-term aims. Thus a school library strategy will detail the actions required to ensure the school library meets its aims and objectives. These should fit in with the overall school aims and should be written with any school development or improvement plan in mind, together with recent Ofsted report recommendations.




Why focus on Ofsted?


Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Ofsted grade schools according to the level of their services and schools aspire to achieve an "outstanding" grade. Parents also take note of Ofsted inspections.

The areas of a school that Ofsted concentrate on are often regulated by law or guidance, and are usually given priority with regards to the school budget. In times of diminishing budgets, schools have to cut back on what they consider to be "non-essential" services and these are often areas that are not inspected by Ofsted. Thus, as a school library is not statutory and is not featured in Ofsted inspection, it is vulnerable.

By focusing on Ofsted the Campaign wants to highlight how a school library can help all students achieve their potential, feeding into the teaching and learning of all subjects, as well as delivering information literacy skills and providing support for students' well-being. Recognition by Ofsted would provide more support for school libraries within senior management and governing bodies.

By linking the school library strategy with Ofsted reports, the library can show how it supports the school's aims and objectives for improvement.




I’ve filled in a case study. What happens now?


You will receive an acknowledgement of your case study. It will then be added to the case study folder to be used in future reports, publications, advocacy activities, etc. to highlight the range of work and impact of a school librarian. The whole case study may be used or relevant sections and quotes may be selected.




Does this campaign include Scotland?


The scope of the campaign to have school librarians in every school across the UK is one shared by all. However with the "How Good is our School" framework and the investment already being made into school libraries in Scotland #GreatSchoolLibraries will focus on England, Wales and Northern Ireland. To find out more about Scotland's campaign please contact info@scottishlibraries.org




What have Ofsted said so far?


"We expect schools to focus on securing high literacy standards for all pupils, as well as offering a deep and rich curriculum. Inspectors will consider the impact of the teaching of reading and literacy more generally on outcomes and will look at the effectiveness of resources used by teachers to improve pupils’ reading and access to the curriculum. This may include looking at a school’s library resource, where this is available".




What is IFLA?


The International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) is the leading international body representing the interests of libraries and information services and their users.




What is FOSIL


FOSIL stands for Framework Of Skills for Inquiry Learning and is one of many approaches to information literacy. More information can be found in this Key Issues for School Librarians leaflet, FOSIL-based inquiry for school librarians: an introduction produced by CILIP SLG (School Library Group). More information can be found on The Fosil Group website.